It's easy to get a fantastic night's sleep when you're hammock camping in the wilderness.
But you need to know how to sleep in a hammock correctly before you go.
There are a few little tips that will save you a lot of hassle when you're desperate to get to sleep.
How To Sleep In A Hammock
To sleep in a hammock the correct way you need to focus on setting the hammock up, lying inside it the right way, staying warm at night, and staying safe when you're asleep. When combined with the right hammock camping equipment you'll have a great time.
How To Sleep In A Hammock Camping In The Woods
Once you get used to sleeping in a hammock everything becomes second nature to you. But we'll look at some stuff you need to focus on in the beginning:
- Setting up the hammock
- How to get in a hammock
- Hammock sleeping position
- How to stay warm in a hammock
- Hammock camping safety
1 Setting up the hammock
When you're walking through the forest and it's time to set up camp keep an eye on trees that are roughly 10-15 feet apart. It's the ideal distance for hammock camping.
The exact trees you use is up to you, but keep these tips in mind:
- 30-degree angle
- 18 inches off the ground
- 84 inches high
At what angle should you hang a hammock?
It should be sitting at around 30 degrees, which means the straps will sit at a height of around 84 inches.
I would use hammock straps because it makes your life much easier. You'll be able to adjust the hammock to 30 degrees in seconds depending on the distance between trees.
It should also be sitting at 18 inches above the ground because it's going to help you get into a hammock easier. That is the height of an average chair.
Should a hammock be tight?
A hammock shouldn't be tight because it's going to be uncomfortable. A hammock won't stay flat once you're lying down if it's flat when empty.
When you get inside the sides are going to press against you and it will feel like you're trapped in a cocoon. You won't have any freedom to move when lying down.
Your hammock should sag in the middle. It sounds counterproductive but when you lie down the center flattens out and the sides are loose.
Even though a hammock shouldn't be tight don't hang it from anything that moves. It needs two strong anchor points to work correctly.
2 How to get in a hammock
When you know how to get in a hammock without falling over you'll be okay. Stand in front of the hammock directly in the center with your body facing away from it.
Bend over and grab the hammock with two hands. Your left hand is on the side nearest you and your right hand is on the side furthest away.
Crouch down like you're about to sit on a chair and pull your left hand into the back of your legs while pushing your right hand further away from you.
The hammock will spread out and as you sit down gently you'll come into contact with the hammock. Put your weight on it and pull your legs up into the hammock.
I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm teaching you to suck eggs. I promise you'll be able to get in and out easily after a few attempts and you won't fall.
3 Hammock sleeping position
How do you make a hammock lay flat when it's shaped like a banana? The best hammock sleeping position that makes your hammock flat is lying horizontally.
When you're lying in a hammock move your feet 6-12 inches to the left. Now move your head and shoulders 6-12 inches to the right.
If your hammock was hanged correctly the sides will be loose and you'll be lying diagonally on a flat hammock instead of feeling like you're folded up.
When you lie horizontally you'll be able to sleep in various positions:
- On your back
- Side sleeping
- Fetal position
You'll be able to move around as you please, so take your time and find the sleeping position you feel most comfortable in.
There are a couple of extra tips to improve your sleeping position in a hammock:
- Raise your feet
- Under your knees
- Use a pillow
You can raise your feet by raising the hammock strap on the bottom end of your hammock. It doesn't need to be a lot higher to make a difference.
If you feel like you're sliding down when you sleep it's a good solution. Place a pillow under your head to improve circulation to your brain.
You can put a blanket or pillow under your knees too. It will relieve some of the pressure on your knees to help you get a more comfortable sleep.
Can You Sleep Flat In A Hammock With Botton Insulation?
If you're using a hammock underquilt you can still lie diagonally without getting cold at night. But you might need to adjust your underquilt first.
It's a little bit trickier with a sleeping pad because your legs and head might come off the pad unless you change the angle of the pad too.
Try to get a wide pad because it's going to be much easier and won't slide about when you're sleeping at an angle.
4 How to stay warm in a hammock
You must learn how to stay warm in a hammock because it gets cold at night even in the middle of summer. There is a checklist you should tick off before going to sleep:
- Use bottom insulation
- Properly rated equipment
- Set up your tarp correctly
- Wear the right clothes
Use bottom insulation
Botton insulation will ensure your butt doesn't get cold when hammock camping. When your lying down your sleeping bag will be squashed down.
It won't offer any insulation underneath you, so it's crucial you use a hammock sleeping pad or underquilt to stay warm at night.
Sleeping pads and underquilts have their pros and cons, so you'll have to choose the one that suits your specific needs.
Properly rated equipment
Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and underquilts come with a temperature rating that shows what temperature you can use them in while still being comfortable.
If your equipment doesn't have the correct temperature rating you'll be cold. It's much worse in winter when the air temperature drops below freezing.
Always get equipment with temperature ratings a bit lower than you think you'll need in case something goes wrong.
Set up your tarp correctly
Setting up your tarp correctly includes hanging it in the correct position. Wind chill can become a problem when you're hammock camping.
Make sure your hammock isn't anywhere it can be directly blasted by wind or the tarp might not be enough to help you. Hang the tarp lower when it's colder too.
You should learn different ways to set up a hammock depending on how much you need to be covered. No rain should be able to hit you even when it's blowing horizontally.
Set up a drip line in your hammock suspension under the tarp and the rain won't be able to drip down and find its way into your sleeping area.
Wear the right clothes
When it's hot in summer you can sleep in your underwear and you won't get cold. A shirt and shorts are the next step when it's cooler.
It doesn't matter what you wear when it's nice, but you'll have to be careful when it's cold. Here are some essentials to take when you're camping in winter:
- Lightweight fleece
- Balaclava + beanie
- Thermal gloves
- Thermal underwear
- Extra socks
You don't need to wear them all at the same time but it's nice to have them handy. Everything can be stuffed away in a small section of your backpack.
There are two more things you should do when it comes to hammock camping clothes:
- Don't go to bed in wet clothes
- Wear your clothes in layers
If you enjoy going camping in the rain your clothes are going to get wet. Dry them out overnight and don't sleep in them no matter what.
And multiple layers of clothes will keep you warmer than one or two thick items of clothing.
5 Hammock camping safety
If you want to sleep in a hammock correctly there are a few safety precautions you should take into account. It will guarantee nothing seriously bad happens.
Here are a couple of ways to ensure your good night's sleep doesn't end badly:
- Don't hang your hammock too high
- Don't sleep over water and sharp objects
- Stay away from hammock stacking
- Keep food away from your hammock
Don't hang your hammock too high
If you hang your hammock too high you might have trouble getting inside. Some hammock campers have bragged to me about how high they've hung a hammock.
I think some people enjoy being extremely high off the ground. Maybe others are scared of bears and wolves, which aren't going to bother you anyway.
It's really dangerous getting in and out of a hammock when it's up high especially in the dark. And I've never fallen out but anything is possible.
Don't sleep over water and sharp objects
It's fun to hang your hammock over water and I'm not going to pretend you won't enjoy it. If you find the right spot perhaps relax there during the day.
But don't sleep above water or sharp objects. If you wake up in the middle of the night and try to get out of the hammock without thinking it could be a disaster.
Stay away from hammock stacking
Some people like to think they're still kids sleeping on bunk beds when they go camping because they stack hammocks.
Stacking hammocks is hanging them on top of each other on the same tree so you might have campers 5 levels high.
It's hard to sleep when you always think in the back of your head someone could fall and land on top of you. You can share one tree with other hammocks if it's thick enough.
Keep food away from your hammock
You shouldn't have food with you when sleeping in your hammock. It's going to attract bears and other animals which you don't need.
Eat and store your food somewhere a little away from your hammock if you're camping somewhere with dangerous animals walking around.
How Far Off The Ground Should A Hammock Be?
A hammock should be roughly 18 inches off the ground. It's the ideal height to get into your hammock effortlessly, plus you won't have trouble getting out in the dark. If you did accidentally fall you won't hurt yourself if the hammock isn't high off the ground.
Once you can get in and out of the hammock okay you do have more freedom to change the height a big should you need to. Just use common sense when doing so.
How Do You Sleep In A Hammock Overnight Without Falling Out?
It's easy to fall in a hammock all night without falling out. I know why some people might assume it's easy to fall out of a hammock, but it's almost impossible unless you do something silly. When you hang your hammock make sure it has enough sag.
If you did hang it too tight it would tip easier if you put all your weight on one side. Set up your hammock correctly and you won't fall out.
But once you start following bad practices like leaning out to grab something sitting on the ground you could fall out easily.
Do You Need A Bug Net For Hammock Camping?
If there are bugs where you're hammock camping they will find you, so you should always use a bug net in those situations. You can buy a bug net separately if you don't get one with your hammock. It's simple to set up after a little practice.
It's hard to sleep in a hammock with bugs flying around your head all night. And when you wake up in the morning you could have bites all over your body.
I've been attacked by bugs badly once in my life. I don't even know what they were because I didn't wake up, but I'll never be in that position again.
How To Sleep Two In A Hammock?
When sleeping on a hammock with two people one should lie on their back and the other should lie on their side facing their partner. You can try a few positions to see what works for you. Two people can share the same hammock if they want.
It's uncomfortable and you should use separate hammocks unless there is a great reason why you can't. You'll have a much more relaxing sleep on your own.
You can even put one of your straps around the same tree so you won't be far away from each other. Lie in the same hammock to watch a movie or talk but don't sleep in one.
How To Sleep In A Hammock With A Dog?
If your dog is small enough it can sleep in your hammock at your side or on your stomach. But some dogs won't enjoy sleeping in a hammock so you'll need to test it out. Cut your dog's nails before you go hammock camping so they don't tear anything.
You should have an extra bed and blanket you can put down beside your hammock just in case. It should be under your tarp to keep them out of the rain.
Always attach your dog to a long lead and wrap it around your wrist to prevent them from walking away and getting lost during the night.
How To Sleep In A Hammock In The Rain?
Your tarp needs to be large enough to cover you completely to help you stay out of the rain. Lower your tarp until it's closer to your hammock too. If you use drip lines the rain won't end up splashing on your face while you sleep.
If it's windy and raining hammock camping is even tougher. Make sure the tarp is secured tightly so it doesn't blow away when it's hit by a strong gust of wind.
How To Sleep In A Hammock With A Sleeping Bag On Its Own?
If you want to sleep in a hammock with only a sleeping bag for protection it shouldn't drop any lower than 70 degrees during the night, which means it's only going to work in summer. And carry extra clothing in case you need to put on an extra layer.
At the very least you should try to put a blanket or reflective insulation underneath you. Hammock camping is bad if you have cold butt syndrome.
What Is The Best Way To Hang A Hammock Indoors?
The best way to hang a hammock indoors is by attaching anchor points to your ceiling or wall beams. You can also use an indoor hammock stand if you don't want to drill into the walls. Either method will allow you to hammock camp indoors safely.
What Angle Should You Hang A Hammock Indoors?
The suspension angle of your indoor hammock should be 30 degrees. It should sag enough to flatten when you're lying inside and the hammock sides should be loose. This is important so don't drill into anything unless you've calculated everything out first.
How To Sleep In A Hammock
To sleep in a hammock correctly you just need to hang your equipment the right way, sleep diagonally to flatten the hammock out, stay warm when it's cold, and stay safe when you're sleeping. A pillow and extra back support will help out too.
Don't panic if you don't sleep comfortably the first night you go hammock camping. You'll eventually find out what works for you. Everyone is different.